Last month Toronto Pride voted to ban Toronto police from participating in any future floats and parades during the yearly celebration. Following the announcement, the debate has been ongoing and heated. The vote was to meet the demands of Black Lives Matter protesters, and also included an agreement to hire more people from vulnerable communities and produce funding for minority-based events.
This morning, the following statement was released from Chief Mark Saunders on the Toronto Police Department’s website.
We have made great strides with the LGBTQ communities. It’s an inclusive relationship I’m proud of and I know the men and women of the Service feel the same way.
We understand the LGBTQ communities are divided. To enable those differences to be addressed, I have decided the Toronto Police Service will not participate, this year, in the Pride Parade.
What we will do is continue to hold our annual Pride reception.
I want to make it very clear that this will have no impact on our ongoing outreach to LGBTQ communities. We will continue to develop respectful relationships and build new ones, focusing on those who feel marginalized, with the trans and racialized communities. I will sit down with any group who feels marginalized, who comes to the table with ideas on how to make things better.
We have come a long way. We have much to do.